MAHWAH HISTORIC PRESERVATION COMMISSION
October 10, 2002 MEETING MINUTES
The meeting was called to order at 7:35 p.m. The secretary, Ms. Storms was absent and minutes were taken by Commission member Barbara Shanley.
SUNSHINE STATEMENT: Ms. Drago, the Commission Chair, read the Sunshine Statement.
Marthajean Drago Chair Mark Nichols (excused)
John Bristow, Historian Gus Vasiliadis (excused)
Barbara Shanley Paul Gioni, Alternate I (excused)
Thomas Thornton Carol Greene (excused)
Also present: Donna Temayne, Esq., Attorney to MHPC
*Salute to the Flag:
*PUBLIC SESSION: Ms. Shanley made a motion, seconded by Ms. Kennedy to open the Public Session. There being no one from the public in attendance, John Bristow made a motion, seconded by Mr. Thornton, to close the Public Session.
APPROVAL OF MINUTES
July 11, 2002 Minutes: There were not enough members present at this meeting, who were also present at the July 11, 2002 meeting for a quorum. Therefore, Mr. Thornton made a motion, seconded by Mr. Bristow to table the approval of the July 11 minutes until the November 14, 2002 meeting. The motion was approved unanimously.
September 12, 2002 Minutes: Under general discussion, the following corrections were made:
Mr. Bristow corrected a phrase in paragraph 8 under Firehouse Co. #1, from “…15 feet south”. To read.”…15 feet WEST” (of the present wall);
Mr. Thornton corrected paragraph 5 under Firehouse Co. #1, to change the phrase “cedar plank” to “cementious”; and on page 3, paragraph 3 under Demolitions, the word “loose” be changed to “lose”; and on page 6, under Applications, Coach USA Docket #446, the phrase “…known as Clover Way” should be changed to read “…area known as the Clove, which was a walking path during the American Revolution”.
Mrs. Drago corrected paragraph. 6 under Firehouse Co. #1 to change the fourth sentence to read: “Mrs. Drago questioned the use of so many materials. “
Mr. Cerullo corrected paragraph 2 under Firehouse Co #1 to change the word “Bulka” to “Boca” and that on page 3, under Demolition applications paragraph 2, the words “lolly coms” be changed to read “lolly columns”
Mr. Bristow corrected the 1st sentence of paragraph 3 under Demolitions to read: “Mr. Derbyshire was disappointed the house was coming down.”
A motion to approve the amended September l2, 2002 minutes was made by Ms. Kennedy and seconded by Mr. Bristow. The motion was approved with a vote of 5 yes and one abstention by Mr. Cerullo who was not present at the September 12, 2002 meeting.
Ms. Drago suggested that we divert from the order of topics set forth in the agenda to hear the representative for the Masonicus Chapel who had come in while we were approving the minutes. All present agreed.
Masonicus Chapel Siding: The Masonicus Chapel building, dates back to the 1850’s, and Ms. Drago stated that not only does that make it l50 years old, but that it is also an important building to the County , since it is the oldest one room schoolhouse in Bergen County . It is a Mahwah registered historic site, attached to the Township Historic Preservation Ordinance, and is listed on the Master Plan. The Masonicus Chapel parish wants to renovate the building, including replacing the existing siding with artificial siding. Ms. Drago pointed out that this is to be an informal discussion, as no formal application for work on the Masonicus Chapel has been made to the Township.
Mr. Art Bertry with the A & B roofing company from Waldwick, NJ introduced himself to the Commission, as a representative of congregation of the Masonicus Chapel for this discussion about the proposed chapel renovations. He has been hired by the church as a contractor to do the renovations. Mr. Bertry stated that as a result of the discovery by the parish that there are restrictions on their renovations, due to the historical status of the chapel, they are very concerned that adhering to the guidelines, will create too great a financial burden on the new and still very small parish. Mr. Bertry mentioned several times that the church parish only wants to “clean the place up”. He brought several samples of the materials they were looking at to replace the existing siding which he indicated was “rotting”. Ms. Drago indicated none of them are acceptable according to the guidelines set forth by the Secretary of the Interior. A suggestion was made by Mr. Bertry that the Chapel apply to have their building removed from the ordinance, to get out from under the restrictions now facing them on the renovation. Ms. Drago indicated that that could not be done unless they filed an appeal, and went in front of the Township council. Ms. Drago indicated that she had met twice with the pastor in August 2002 and in their discussion about the building, she was advised by the pastor that they were planning to put new siding on the building. This was the first she had known of their intent. She immediately advised him that because of the historic nature of the building, they could not just go ahead and put siding on, but, would need to go through the Township and Commission for permits and MHPC approval. Ms. Drago stated that at that time, she also advised him of the procedure he would have to follow to obtain permits and approvals for renovations to the Chapel, including adherence to the guidelines set forth by the Secretary of the Interior. She indicated that he had seemed very cooperative at that time.
Ms. Drago added that she had on October 9 and 10 met with Mrs. Carla Cielo, an Architectural Historian from Columbia University, to look at the home at 122 Fardale Avenue, and she also went with Ms. Drago to look at the Masonicus Chapel. She has not at this time been formally hired as a consultant to the Commission, but that at our next meeting we will hear a proposal to hire Ms. Cielo in that capacity.
It was suggested by Mr. Thornton that the church, the contractor, and the historian go to the Chapel, and remove some of the existing exterior and interior work in an attempt to uncover, if any, some of the original building materials. Mr. Cerullo suggested that depending on what findings that procedure produced it is possible that the work might not be as expensive as the Chapel parish feared. Mr. Bertry and Mr. Thornton discussed at length the procedure that would have to be followed to perform the renovations, from the request for a permit through the inspection and approval process. Mr. Cerullo and Mr. Thornton stated for the record that “we as a Commission are willing to work with the church on this”. Ms. Drago clarified that the role of the commission has no burden to approve any of the work on the building if it is not done to the standards. It was suggested by Mr. Thornton that the pastor, Mr. Guinari come to our next meeting. Mr. Bertry left the meeting at 8:45 p.m., indicating he now had a better idea of what to tell the Chapel parish members concerning the restrictions and regulations for any renovation work on the Masonicus Chapel, as well as the procedure they need to follow to get their Township permits for the work.
General Discussion: Ms. Drago indicated regarding the demolition of 122 Fardale Avenue home,
that Ms. Cielo’s initial visit and inspection of the home clearly revealed that this house more likely dates back as far as 1810, which may raise some issues with our September 2002 motion to approve the demolition. Ms. Drago asked Ms. Temayne, Esq., if we can have a provision added to the historic preservation ordinance that any house before us for approval of a demolition permit, if it is on the Master Plan or the Ordinance, must have an historic survey done by an expert prior to the decision by the MHPC on its destruction. General discussion ensued regarding what procedure would need to be followed to have a more in depth investigation or survey performed to determine more accurately the age, and architectural significance, of any home for which a demolition permit is applied.
Ms. Temayne indicated that historical surveys are not always accurate, and that she would need to research what the law may govern the changing of an ordinance in that manner.
Mr. Thornton made a motion that Ms. Temayne draft a proposal for a provision to be added to the existing Historic Preservation Ordinance, which amends our procedure for approval of demolition applications, setting forth that if a demolition permit should come before the MHPC, the Commission will be able to request that an historic survey be performed first before the Commission votes on the demolition permit. Ms. Kennedy seconded the motion. The motion was unanimously approved with a vote of 6 yes, 0 no.
Renovations Guidelines: Ms. Drago read a guideline from Tenafly that sets forth a summary of guidelines, based on the Secretary of the Interior guidelines, which can be applied to any renovation of an historic home. Tenafly uses this as an attachment to applications for historic home renovations to help the homeowner identify more easily and definitively what needs to be done to stay within the required procedure, and limitations for building materials that can be used. Ms. Drago suggested that Ms. Temayne advise us in November what the Commission would need to do to get this guideline summary added to the Township of Mahwah’s building permit application procedure. Ms. Temayne agreed. No vote was needed or taken on this issue.
R.S. Webb & Associates Mahwah-Nextel, Corner of Island Road and McKee Street, Mahwah Antennae Tower: There is currently a tower sitting on a 8 x 20 foot concrete pad, with a 225’ lattice tower now in place for receiving signals. Nextel wants to place an additional antenna atop this. Ms. Drago advised that on Tuesday, October 15, 2002, she and Ms. Pat Garvey from the County Historic Preservation Office will walk to historic sites within a certain radius of the tower to see if the new height of the tower with the antenna will impinge or affect any of the historic sites. Ms. Drago will report back to the Commission at the November meeting.
Historic Preservation Awards – November is Historic Preservation Month, and Ms. Drago requested that Ms. Kennedy and Ms. Shanley serve with her as a committee to designate owners of historic sites in the Township who should receive recognition for their role in the preservation of an historic site. They will meet on Wednesday evening October 16, 2002.
Temple Beth Haverim - Sheffield Farms Milk Barn -- Ms. Drago visited the temple site, specifically, to observe the former milk barn structure on the temple property, which the temple previously agreed to dismantle, and reconstruct as a seating area. Ms. Drago reported they have taken the milk barn portion down, piece by piece, and set the pieces aside. Two floors were found, in this procedure, and all hand hewn beams have been salvaged. She indicated that it is important the plans to turn this into a gazebo be carefully laid out to make it a safe structure, as the foundation, which shall remain standing, and will serve as the base for the gazebo, is very high off the ground. Ms. Drago said she found an architect who will take away from the site, the historic building materials from the barn, and wishes to incorporate them into a home he is building. He will be taking as well the wide floor boards from the home at 122 Fardale Avenue, scheduled for demolition.
Mr. Thornton asked if some piece or pieces, especially of the hand hewn beams might be allowed to be kept by the Township and displayed in the New Museum. Mr. Bristow indicated the Museum would be glad to have any piece of an historic site displayed, if the site itself could not be saved.
Ms. Drago indicated that aside from the dismantling of the barn, the Commission still needs to write a letter to the Temple Beth Haverim, requesting that they establish a timeline for turning the foundation of the milk barn into a gazebo, or seating area.
Ms. Drago recognized Mr. Cerullo’s request to discuss an item he wanted on the table for discussion, but was not able to get onto the agenda before it was printed.
US Department of the Interior. SURVEY REQUEST : Mr. Cerullo advised the Commission that he has received, as the representative for the Commission in connection with our status as a Certified Local Government, a letter from the US Department of the Interior, to complete a survey which they attached to a cover letter. The letter asks that we perform a survey that will be comprised only of any threatened Nationally registered historic sites within our Township. The question was asked by Mr. Thornton, if it includes any reference to asking for nationally eligible endangered sites. After a brief review of the letter and form, it was determined that the request is for only actually nationally registered threatened or endangered historic sites. Ms. Shanley asked if it seemed that our participation was mandatory, or optional. Mr. Cerullo indicated it appeared optional, but he felt that doing this may be a good way to help any endangered sites we have, and to possibly open the way for federal assistance to save them. Ms. Drago asked the present Commission members to think of any national historic sites within Mahwah’s borders, that they feel might be threatened in some way, and call Mr. Cerullo with the site, and its history, so he can report back to the Department of the Interior. No motion was needed.
STREET NAME: None at this time
Vista Bahn Estates, Docket #440, Block 23, Lot 53, 54, 55 Winters House – Ms. Drago read out loud the cover letter from the applicant concerning the historic site and the historic easement shown on the site plan for the application. The applicant‘s cover letter raises the question as to whom will be responsible for the Winter house. Ms. Drago indicated we need clarification from the applicant what they mean by the term “responsible for”.
This application had been before the Commission on September 12, 2002, and we had voted to table any decision on it until October. The historic Winters house and certain auxiliary structures and features, on applicant’s site plan are set apart but are part of on a larger lot to be sold as one lot, but the site plan indicates the Winter house will have an historic easement on it.
Ms. Temayne researched historic preservation easements, and advised the Commission that an historic preservation easement can have several uses, depending on how it is worded. It can serve as a deed restriction, governing the preservation or limits of renovation can be done to or for an historic site. Or, it can serve as a use restriction allowing only certain uses for an historic property, as well as who has jurisdiction over the management and maintenance of the site covered by the easement. Ms. Temayne indicated that the current Docket #440 application did not define what applicant’s reference to an historic easement means for the Township, the Commission, and for the future owner of that larger property on which the Winter house will sit. Mr. Cerullo asked Ms. Temayne if she knew who was supposed to draft the historic preservation easement, to be applied to the property, the applicant or the commission. Ms. Temayne indicated that we should let the applicant write the details of the easement. If we don’t approve it, then we could write our own and offer it back to applicant for their approval.
Ms. Drago suggested that since this application must now go to the planning board, we make our approval contingent upon the planning board’s approval.
Let the minutes reflect that after a thorough review of the application, Mr. Bristow made a motion to recommend to the planning board that their approval of current Block 23, Lots 53, 54, 55, (proposed Lot 1,) on Docket #440, should include as a condition of their approval, an historic preservation easement, the terms of which are subject to the review and approval of the Mahwah Historic Preservation Commission. Mr. Thornton seconded the motion. The motion was approved with a vote of 6 yes and 0 no.
Barbara F. Wehran, Docket #446, Minor Subdivision -- Ms. Wehran was not present and this application was tabled.
The Danza Group Final Subdivision Docket #395F – Block 17 Lot 21 (Washington Lane.
Let the minutes reflect that after a thorough review of the application, Mr. Cerullo made a motion to disapprove the new application because it does not address our previous objections stated at the March 14, 2002 MHPC meeting, regarding issues raised but which have not been addressed in a form that the Commission can understand. We request a presentation by the applicant showing how our concerns were addressed in the revised application. Ms. Kennedy seconded the motion . The motion was approved unanimously with a vote of 6 yes and 0 no.
The Danza Group Final/Major Subdivision Docket #376F Block 1 Lot 130.01. – Let the minutes reflect that after a thorough review of the application, Mr. Thornton made a motion to disapprove the application because the same concerns expressed at the March 14, 2002 meeting by the Commission on Danza application Docket #395F, apply to this docket as well. We again request that a presentation be given to the Commission to show how our concerns are being addressed, which presentation can be done at the same time as the one for Docket #395F.
Mr. Bristow seconded the motion. The motion was approved unanimously with a vote of 6 yes and 0 no.
161 Wyckoff Avenue , Block 153, Lot 21.02 – Ms. Drago noted that this home was owned by the family of Mahwah resident Warren Storms and while it was built in the 1920’s it has never been lived in. She indicated that it has no outstanding architectural features, and is not on either the ordinance or master plan. After a thorough review of the application, Mr. Bristow made a motion to recommend approval of the demolition of this structure. Ms. Kennedy seconded the motion. The motion to recommend approval of the demolition was unanimous, 6 yes, and 0 no. Ms. Drago advised she will call Mr. Montroy with the result of our vote, as the paperwork was not included in the packet for this meeting.
15 Bartholf Lane – Block 152, Lot 77 - After a review of the application that revealed the house is over 100 years old, and has architectural features that may date it older than that, Ms. Shanley made a motion, seconded by Ms. Kennedy, that we recommend against demolition of this property, asking applicant to supply more detailed information about the home’s history, or provide a preliminary historical survey of the house, so we have a better basis for an informed decision . The motion was approved with a unanimous vote of 6 yes, and 0 no.
It was suggested by Ms. Drago that Ms. Temayne advise us at the next meeting on how to implement a consent agenda into the procedures for the MHPC meetings. Ms. Temayne will work with Ms. Drago and Ms. Storms, the secretary, to draft a consent agenda for November’s meeting. No motion needed.
Ms. Shanley made a motion, seconded by Ms. Kennedy, to table discussion of this agenda’s Old Business items until the November 14, 2002 meeting. Motion unanimously approved.
Ms. Shanley made a motion, seconded by Mr. Bristow, to close the meeting at 10:50 PM.
These minutes are a synopsis of the MHPC tapes, which are on file at the Township Hall.
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